June 5, 2016

Banishing monsters

The New Testament book of Hebrews speaks of Christ as superior to the old ways. When the author gets to chapter 12, he begins to lay out the response I should have to the wonderful faithfulness of God. I’m to lay aside sin, run with endurance, heed His discipline, strive for peace with others, abandon bitterness, and pay attention to God because He is a consuming fire. Then into chapter 13, he says to continue in brotherly love, keep marriage pure, and don’t fall in love with money . . .

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5–6)

While the promise to never be forsaken seems connected to an inordinate attachment to money, it seems to me that this is the foundation for all of how God wants me to respond to Him. He is here. He will never leave me. Nothing or no one can change that. Because of His presence, I can do as He asks.

Years ago, I was reading one of those classics about the faith. I cannot remember who wrote it, but he said something like this: the presence of God is like the very air about us. Since reading that, whenever I want to experience God’s nearness, I think about the atmosphere around me and am instantly aware of Him.

This is not a gimmick. It is a reality because He is everywhere, including right here. He will never leave me, and even more, He is my helper. I’ve nothing to fear. I can do all that He asks. If I had to do it without help, I would have no such confidence.

Yet fears do trickle in when a danger looms on the horizon. Like Chambers says, I may not be a coward about a fear and plan on facing it, yet there is a dread. On a small scale, it could be a dentist appointment for a root canal, or a cardio-version for an irregular heartbeat. But it could also be the terminal illness of someone I love (or my own termination). Life is filled with things that could be feared.

For me, this promise of God is for those things that rear up like monsters in the night and try to take my eyes off the fact of Him. The only way to meet this kind of fear is to take a deep breath and remember what God says. Plaster those words all over the monster. Refuse to let those threats fill my heart. Trust God. He cares; the monster does not.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3)

I’ve said it before and must repeat it again: fear and agitation, worry and doubt, even sin, are all impossible when realizing the presence of the Lord. I do not have to do this alone. He is here — so all monsters of darkness must leave.

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